The BIG Chair Project

August 23, 2012

Republic of Fritz Hansen and Jamie Oliver collaborate with artists and designers for fundraising venture, the BIG Chair Project.

Above: Jamie Oliver and David Loftus, ‘The Hipstamatic Chair’, and Julien Macdonald, ‘Truly Scrumptious’

Danish furniture company, Republic of Fritz Hansen, has paired up with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to launch the BIG Chair Project: a fundraising project inviting 20 designers, artists and fashion designers to decorate their own Arne Jacobsen Ant chair.

The project has been launched to mark the tenth year since Oliver founded the Better Food Foundation and Fifteen restaurant, an initiative to mentor unemployed young people and train them to become chefs. Ten years on, the foundation has launched the BIG Chair fundraising project to help the continued growth of the Fifteen program. Some of the chairs will be auctioned, while others can be won by purchasing lottery-style tickets online.

(click images to enlarge)

Matthew Williamson's 'Paradise', one of Nunzio Citro's 'Romanesco Chairs', and one of Liberty's 'A Pear of Chairs'


Among the famous names invited to customise the chairs are fashion designers Paul Smith, Christopher Bailey for Burberry, Matthew Williamson and Julien Macdonald, as well as illustrator Quentin Blake and homewares designer Cath Kidston. Artist Tracey Emin has also designed a chair, which will be unveiled on auction night in October.

Christopher Bailey's 'The Burberry Stud', Sarah Burton's 'Hand-Massaged Petal Chair', and Paul Smith's 'Luvly Grub'


Designers were briefed to create their own fun, food-inspired design for each of the chairs. Paul Smith’s tempting ‘Luvly Grub’ is adorned on one side with images of sugary treats, while the other side is filled with images of fruits and vegetables. Julien Macdonald’s ‘Truly Scrumptious’ takes a pop-art approach, and has been covered with dozens of sets of coloured plastic cutlery.

Jamie Oliver has partnered with photographer David Loftus to create ‘The Hipstamatic Chair’, while ‘Illuminate’ by Jo Sampson of Waterford Crystal features bespoke and handcrafted Waterford crystal casing for the chair legs. Christopher Bailey of Burberry has clad his Ant chair in metallic studs, in contrast to ‘Hand Massaged Petal Chair’ by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, whose ethereal creation is draped with layers of soft fabric.

Waterford Crystal's 'Illuminate', Superdy's 'Lumberjack' and Barnaby Purdy's 'Food Fight'


The collection also includes upholstered chairs by Fashion label Superdry and French illustrator Emma Tissier, hand-drawn illustrations by Quentin Blake and Jay Jay Burridge, as well as two chairs covered in a specially designed fabric from high-end department store Liberty, entitled ‘A Pear of Chairs’.

The Arne Jacobsen-designed Ant chair is also marking an anniversary this year. First designed in 1952 and now celebrating its 60th anniversary, the three-legged chair was originally designed for Danish healthcare company, Novo Nordisk.

'Food in Flight' by Quentin Blake, Emma Tissier's 'Fifteen Jouy Bilee' and 'Rise and Shine' by Cath Kidston


The chairs are currently on display in the London showroom of Republic for Fritz Hansen. The live auction will take place at the Fritz Hansen showroom on 11 October 2013, with all profits raised going directly to Jamie Oliver’s Better Food Foundation.


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